Category Archives: Horse Health

Winter Respiratory Health

An elevated concentration of irritants in the air causes measurable lung inflammation in all horses. There may or may not be a true allergic component. Continued exposure can lead to IAD (inflammatory airway disease) or RAO (recurrent airway obstruction) in susceptible horses. These conditions have a considerable impact on the horse’s comfort and performance. There may be increased risk of infectious lung disease or irreversible damage in chronic cases.

A variety of airborne substances have been implicated. Ammonia from bacterial breakdown of urea in urine is a well-documented lung irritant in a variety of species. “Organic dust” is also an offender. This includes microscopic particulate matter from mites, plant material (e.g. beta-glucans), feces, bacteria and their products (endotoxin) and fungal spores.

A critical first step in reducing airway irritation is to guarantee good air circulation through the barn.  High moisture levels indicated by window condensation suspend the irritating substances, and reduced air turnover allows their concentration to increase.  Other measures to take, especially if you have symptomatic horses, include:

  • Pick out stall wet spots frequently and consider stall deodorizers (even kitty litter works) for ammonia control
  • Store hay in a separate building
  • Use wood or paper bedding rather than straw
  • Do not clean stalls or sweep with horses in the barn
  • Wet hay and bagged feeds before feeding
  • Turn the horse out as much as possible

 

Several supplement ingredients can help with maintenance of normal lung function in the face of these temporary challenges:

  • Spirulina assists in the maintenance of a normal, balanced immune response and stabilization of histamine releasing cells.
  • MSM supports a controlled inflammatory response.
  • Research has documented low levels of antioxidant vitamin C in IAD/RAO lung fluid and supplementation can help restore this.
  • Jiaogulan (Gynostemma platensis) is a Chinese adaptogenic herb which supports normal airway dilation for good air flow.

 

The reaction to the airborne irritants and allergens generates considerable oxidative stress. All living things are equipped with the ability to produce a range of antioxidant defenses, but these can be overwhelmed. When that happens, plants offer a rich source of antioxidant phytochemicals to help maintain homeostasis. These include all berries, grape seed and skins, citrus bioflavinoids which work with vitamin C, Boswellia, Turmeric, Ginger and Ginkgo.

N-acetyl-cysteine supports the horse’s ability to manufacture glutathione, an important antioxidant. As an additional benefit, it assists in maintaining a normal, watery consistency to mucus so that it can be moved out easily.

IAD and RAO are common equine respiratory conditions caused by environmental irritants.  Fortunately, there are many things you can do to reduce exposure to irritants, as well as supplements to feed that help the body maintain normal lung function.

Uckele Health & Nutrition, maker of CocoSoya®, offers supplements to support respiratory health.

 

LungEQ promotes overall equine respiratory, lung and immune health.  For horses with respiratory reactions to environmental irritants and seasonal allergens. With Spirulina Platensis which may help stabilize the mast cells that release histamine.  MSM supports normal regulation of inflammation.  Flaxseed meal promotes balanced inflammatory pathways.  Jiaogulan supports healthy histamine levels, open airways, and healthy immune response.

Spirulina has been documented to support the immune system in producing circulating IgG and IgM antibodies, mucus membrane associated IgA antibodies in the lungs, gut and genitourinary systems, and to shift away from the IgE antibodies associated with allergic reactions.

Phyto-Quench Pellets provide powerful antioxidants featuring Devil’s Claw to help maintain healthy immunity, especially for horses not on fresh pasture.  With phytonutrient rich ingredients for vascular and tissue integrity, Phyto-Quench fights the damaging effects of free radicals by neutralizing oxidative reactions to maintain a normal inflammatory response. Plant-based phytonutrients include Garlic, Devil’s Claw, Turmeric, Grape Seed, Ginkgo Biloba, and Boswellia.  Also available in a palatable powder that does not contain Devil’s Claw.

Bio-Quench Supports horses with seasonal allergies.  With natural antioxidants to help promote the immune system and provide protection from excessive oxidation that can generate free radicals.  With a potent blend of plant antioxidants, antioxidant vitamins and B vitamins for optimal immune enhancing effects.

Vitamin C or immune support and function, especially for horses not on fresh pasture.  It promotes the body’s innate resistance to pathogens and protects against damaging free radicals to maintain a healthy inflammatory response.

Permission to reprint this article is granted, provided credit is given to Uckele Health & Nutrition, who appreciates being notified of publication.

 

About Dr. Kellon
Dr. Eleanor Kellon, staff veterinary specialist for Uckele Health & Nutrition, is an established authority in the field of equine nutrition for over 30 years, and a founding member and leader of the Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistance (ECIR) group, whose mission is to improve the welfare of horses with metabolic disorders via integration of research and real-life clinical experience.  Prevention of laminitis is the ultimate goal.  www.ecirhorse.org

Uckele Health & Nutrition, maker of CocoSoya, is an innovation-driven health company committed to making people and their animals healthier.  On the leading edge of nutritional science and technology for over 50 years, Uckele formulates and manufactures a full spectrum of quality nutritional supplements incorporating the latest nutritional advances.  www.uckele.com.

Antiparasitic Resistance Invokes FDA Request

 

 

By Nikki Alvin-Smith

 

Resistance to dewormer products currently available on the market has caused the FDA to invoke a request that animal drug companies voluntarily revise their product labels for their approved anthelmintics used in livestock, including horses.

 

This edict brings the issue of antiparastic resistance front and center and horse owners may wish to heed the advice that the FDA has provided in regard to the need to engage in a targeted, evidence based worm control program for their equines to include fecal equine control testing (F.E.C.T.). The F.D.A. also heralded the importance of retesting (F.E.C.R.T) after administration of an appropriate dewormer treatment. This is necessary to gauge the effectiveness of the treatment.

 

This an excerpt from the FDA statement regarding their request for voluntary additional labeling:

 

New Labeling Information about Antiparasitic Resistance
Cattle, Small Ruminants, and Horses ~

 

Antiparasitic resistance is particularly concerning in grazing species (cattle, sheep, goats, and horses). Because these animals are continually exposed to worm eggs on the pasture, they can have repeated parasite infections. FDA has requested that animal drug companies add the following statements to the labels of all anthelmintics for cattle, small ruminants, and horses:

  • Parasite resistance may develop to any dewormer, and has been reported for most classes of dewormers.
  • Do not underdose. Ensure each animal receives a complete dose based on a current body weight. Underdosing may result in ineffective treatment, and encourage the development of parasite resistance.
  • Treatment with a dewormer used in conjunction with parasite management practices appropriate to the geographic area and the animal(s) to be treated may slow the development of parasite resistance.
  • Fecal examination {F.E.C.T.} or other diagnostic tests and parasite management history should be used to determine if the product is appropriate for the herd/flock, prior to the use of any dewormer. Following the use of any dewormer, effectiveness of treatment should be monitored (for example, with the use of a fecal egg count reduction test {F.E.C.R.T.} or another appropriate method).
  • A decrease in a drug’s effectiveness over time as calculated by fecal egg count reduction tests may indicate the development of resistance to the dewormer administered. Your parasite management plan should be adjusted accordingly based on regular monitoring.”

How has this parasite resistant situation developed you might ask? The overuse of dewormers brings with it increasing likelihood of even larger equine internal parasite populations that have developed resistance to current dewormers on the market. Inappropriate dosing either due to the horse spitting out the dewormer at time of administration or wrong weight estimations for dosage are also causes for dewormer resistance to begin. But the main cause comes down to the survival process part of which is successful reproduction.

 

When you administer a dewormer product to your horse it will necessarily be most effective against the adult sexually active worms that are the most sensitive and it will leave behind those worms that are the most resistant. Now you have created a selective breeding situation. These resistant adult worms will now mate together to create more highly dewormer resistant worms.

 

As a result, eventually the dewormer will become useless as a method for treatment of worms in that equine population and their environment. As horses move around from place to place, these resistant worms are spread on the pasture to other grazing herds.

 

There are many options to source for your testing needs but be certain to find one that offers full consultation services to address questions you may encounter if your F.E.C.R.T. does not showcase the expected 90% reduction in the shedding worm count.

 

PLEASE NOTE: This article is available for use in its entirety without edit or excerpt, in any media format on condition that credit is given to Horsemen’s Laboratory, and author Nikki Alvin-Smith as a byline at the beginning of the article publication. Horsemen’s Laboratory URL address and Nikki Alvin-Smith URL must be included.  We would appreciate notification of any publication via email to media contact Nikki@NikkiAlvinSmithStudio.com Thank-you for sharing!

 

This article is brought to you courtesy of Horsemen’s Laboratory Inc., Mahomet, IL. –

 

About Horsemen’s Laboratory: Established in 1993 by John Byrd D.V.M., an experienced lifelong horseman and a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. As an equine medicine practitioner in California for 13 years, Dr. Byrd served as ex-officio member of the board of directors of the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association where he also served as the organization’s official sales veterinarian.  In addition, Dr. Byrd frequently officiated, as veterinarian for horse shows sponsored by the management of Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, California.  Dr. Byrd’s extensive experience with horses led him to observe how a horse’s health could impact performance leading to the founding of the specialist lab for equine fecal worm egg counts. Please visit https://www.horsemenslab.com/ to find out more about F.E.C.T. services available directly to the horse owner including; advice on equine fecal egg count testing; quick and easy purchase of test kits online; reporting and expert consultation services. Dr. Byrd enjoys sharing his wealth of knowledge of equine parasitology with horse owners from all walks of life, and is available to provide lectures/symposiums for your club, organization or event. Please contact Dr. Byrd via his website for rates and further information.

 

About Nikki Alvin-Smith: International and national published freelance writer and photographer in such world renowned publications such as The Chronicle of the Horse, Horse and Hound, Dressage and CT, Warmbloods Today, The Horseman’s Yankee Pedlar, Reiter, The Equine Journal, Spur, Hoofprints, Horsin’ Around, Horses All, Field & Stream, Western Horse and Gun, Pony Quarterly, Horses All Canada, Catskill Horse to name a few. Ghostwriting, blog services, PR/Marketing copy either direct with manufacturer or for agencies, copy editing and editor services also available. Nikki also produces catalog copy, white papers, e-books, corporate brochures and advertising copy for international corporations and PR/Marketing for celebrities.

 

As a Brit who has called the America home for the past 34 years, Nikki brings a unique perspective to the equestrian world. Nikki is also an accomplished Grand Prix dressage trainer/competitor, competing at international Grand Prix level to scores over 72% and is a highly sought clinician offering clinics worldwide. She has been a horse breeder/importer of warmblood and Baroque breeds for more than 25 years. Together with her husband Paul who is also a Grand Prix trainer, they run a private dressage breeding operation and training yard in the beautiful Catskill Mountains of New York.

 

Please visit https://nikkialvinsmithstudio.com/ to learn more about the affordable freelance writing services on offer

Equine Strongyle Worms Weather The Winter

 

 

By Nikki Alvin-Smith

 

Like many horse owners I was under the assumption that freezing temperatures in winter would kill off any small strongyle worm eggs or larvae on horse pastures, and stop the life cycle of these parasites when they are outside of their equine host.

 

Apparently that is not the case. Surprisingly, the small strongyle can survive not just freezing temperatures, but also freeze and thaw cycles. There is no such thing as a ‘killing frost’ where strongyle worms are concerned, as Dr. Neilsen and Dr. Reinemeyer explain in their wonderful Handbook of Equine Parasite Control 2nd Edition.

 

While there are environmental factors of moisture and oxygen availability to be considered as critical components in the development life of the strongyle worm, the effect of temperature plays a significant part in its survival.

 

Optimum temperature for egg and larvae development is in the range of 77-91 degrees Fahrenheit. While non-optimal conditions may slow the rate of hatching and development of the strongyle worm, studies conducted by Dr. Nielsen indicate that unembryonated eggs can survive occasional freeze/thaw cycles up to 97 days.

 

When you think about the insulating effects of a light layer of snow on animal and plant life on the surface of the soil and the likelihood that worm eggs are often located in equine fecal balls, the microenvironment for the strongyle worm can be kept at a relatively constant temperature close to 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This provides an effective level of protection for the worm eggs from repeated freeze and thaw cycles.

 

That is not to conclude that long term freezing doesn’t damage strongyle eggs and reduce larval yield significantly. It indicates that the horse owner still needs to be vigilant about their targeted horse worm control program throughout the year.

 

It is important to remember that worms enjoy a life ‘cycle’ and that their life is not one in stasis. This means that even if you have dewormed your horse following an initial positive F.E.C.T. (fecal egg worm test) and have a negative shedding egg worm count when you conduct a follow up test F.E.C.R.T. (fecal egg count reduction test), it does not mean that the stronglye worm is not present in its host the horse, laying wait in an encysted stage in the intestinal mucosal layer for shedding later. It also means that worm eggs may be present on the pasture that may have survived cold or warm temperatures.

 

A smart horse owner will therefore take the precaution to pick up manure on a regular basis from the pastures to reduce the degree of contamination of the horse herd from infective parasites and also enact a regular F.E.C.T. program to keep abreast of the levels of strongyles present in the herd and administer appropriate dewormer treatments.

 

PLEASE NOTE: This article is available for use in its entirety without edit or excerpt, in any media format on condition that credit is given to Horsemen’s Laboratory, and author Nikki Alvin-Smith as a byline at the beginning of the article publication. Horsemen’s Laboratory URL address and Nikki Alvin-Smith URL must be included.  We would appreciate notification of any publication via email to media contact Nikki@NikkiAlvinSmithStudio.com Thank-you for sharing!

 

This article is brought to you courtesy of Horsemen’s Laboratory Inc., Mahomet, IL. –

 

About Horsemen’s Laboratory: Established in 1993 by John Byrd D.V.M., an experienced lifelong horseman and a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. As an equine medicine practitioner in California for 13 years, Dr. Byrd served as ex-officio member of the board of directors of the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association where he also served as the organization’s official sales veterinarian.  In addition, Dr. Byrd frequently officiated, as veterinarian for horse shows sponsored by the management of Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, California.  Dr. Byrd’s extensive experience with horses led him to observe how a horse’s health could impact performance leading to the founding of the specialist lab for equine fecal worm egg counts. Please visit https://www.horsemenslab.com/ to find out more about F.E.C.T. services available directly to the horse owner including; advice on equine fecal egg count testing; quick and easy purchase of test kits online; reporting and expert consultation services. Dr. Byrd enjoys sharing his wealth of knowledge of equine parasitology with horse owners from all walks of life, and is available to provide lectures/symposiums for your club, organization or event. Please contact Dr. Byrd via his website for rates and further information

Give Your Horse the Gift of Pasture Diversity

 

Nov. 30, 2018 (Flint Hill, Va.)— It’s the season for giving! Why not give the gift of natural nutrition to your horse this season by diversifying his pasture with healthy herbs?

 

“Horses are designed to graze up to 20 hours a day on diversified forage types, including herbs they instinctively know they need,” said holistic veterinarian and founder/owner of Harmany Equine Dr. Joyce Harman. “Though many pastures have been over managed so that there’s very little natural herb growth, horse owners can plant herbs in the pasture or in grazing patches around the barnyard for their horses to munch on.”

 

Not sure what to plant? Though not a complete list, here’s a handful of herbs that are common throughout the country that horses crave:

 

Chicory

 

Chicory occurs naturally as a “weed” throughout the country, but this drought- and frost-resistant “weed” is anything but! Chicory has a high mineral and protein content. This palpable herb is tough enough to withstand heavy grazing, and is even considered nutritionally superior to alfalfa.

 

Echinacea

 

It’s easy to find echinacea on the shelf of any drug store because it’s well known for immune system support in humans. Not only do horses reap these same benefits, but there’s a small study that suggests echinacea increases the number of circulating red blood cells, hemoglobin levels, and the number of lymphocytes in a horse’s blood. In the study, the improvement in blood quality was most noticeable after the 28-day mark.

 

Fennel

 

Fennel is a bit of an MVP herb. It not only promotes digestive health and helps relieve gas, but it’s very rich in vitamins A and C, calcium, iron and potassium.

 

Fenugreek

 

Fenugreek has been praised for centuries for its lactation-supporting properties in humans, and it can also support healthy milk production in lactating mares. But, its benefits don’t end there. Studies in humans and rats have shown fenugreek’s ability to slow glucose absorption. Additionally, it can be helpful during the winter months for horses with arthritis.

 

Lemon Balm

 

As part of the mint family, lemon balm is more than a great smelling herb! It’s noted for its calming effect on the nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract. It can even help relieve gas that sometimes triggers colic. Lemon balm is another all-star herb because it also has antiviral and antibacterial properties.

 

For those horse owners who are interested in increasing pasture diversity for their horses but not sure where to start, Dr. Joyce Harman has helped revive a product called Sow Your Seeds Pasture Blend that combines all of the herbs listed above, as well as some other notable herbs. The mixture contains perennials and self-sowing annuals that horses would naturally seek out if they could free graze the countryside. The blend can withstand heavy traffic and grow in most of the country.

Five Reasons Your Horse Will be Thankful for Getting Steamed Hay

 

by Nan Meek

 

What does your horse think about his hay? If horses could only speak!

 

Actually, they do. Horses’ bodies speak eloquently, using impossible-to-ignore external physical expressions of internal health issues including respiratory problems, laminitis, insulin resistance and colic, for example.

 

Listen to what your horse is telling you: Is he eating all his hay, or leaving some on the stable floor? Does he cough or have nasal discharge, or is his performance just not quite up to his usual standard? Does he have sore feet or gut problems? He may be telling you to look into his hay hygiene.

 

Here are five reasons your horse will thank you for switching to hay steamed with Haygain® Hay Steamers.

                 

  1. Nutritional value: You feel better when you’re eating well, right? So does your horse. Steamed hay retains nutritional value, so the level of nutrition your hay contains before steaming, remains in your hay after steaming. Your horse’s feeling of wellbeing depends to a great degree on good nutrition, so make sure your horse’s hay retains its nutritional value – you can do that AND virtually eliminate mold, fungi, yeast, bacteria and respirable particles.

 

                 

  1. Palatability: If your horse is a picky eater, you know how important palatability is to ensuring your horse gets the nutrition he needs. “That smells good enough for ME to eat,” is a frequent human comment on the fragrance of steamed hay. Horses agree, and the hay that smells good enough to eat, gets eaten.

 

  1. Respiratory issues: “Achoo!” “Cough, cough.” “Ackkkk.” Do you hear any of those respiratory reactions from your horse? Studies show that even when you don’t, your horse could still have respiratory issues. Steamed hay helps by “steam cleaning” naturally-occurring allergens such as respirable particles and bacteria out of your hay.

 

  1. Laminitis and insulin resistance: These conditions require feeds low in NSC (non-structural carbohydrates) or sugars. Often, horse owners are advised to soak hay to reduce NSC, but studies show that even a 10-minute soak increases bacterial content by 150%. Steaming hay with Haygain reduces bacteria by 99%, so “steam after soaking” to protect your horse’s digestive system.

 

  1. Colic: Poor forage hygiene caused by bacteria and mold has been identified as a risk factor for colic. Steaming hay with Haygain eliminates 99% of both. Especially in winter, providing plenty of fiber and hydration is essential risk reduction. For every bale of hay that is steamed, three quarters of a gallon of water is put back into hay. “Hay hygiene” with Haygain is smart anti-colic strategy.

 

Haygain hay steamers are the only scientifically proven method to eliminate 99% of mold, fungi, yeast and bacteria in hay and up to 98% of respirable dust particles – contaminants that can be found even in the best, most expensive hay. Steaming hay with Haygain retains nutritional value, improves palatability and helps manage respiratory issues, laminitis, insulin resistance, colic and post-surgery recovery.

 

Your horse is already thankful to you for many things – a hot bran mash on a winter morning or a cooling shower on a hot afternoon, not to mention that long gallop on the beach or cool trail ride through the forest.

 

Now you have five more reasons your horse will love you – all for switching to steamed hay. And you’ll love Haygain Hay Steamers for helping reduce these risks to your horse’s health.

Emergency Funds Needed to Help Equine Victims of California Fires

 

LEXINGTON, KY – Nov. 15, 2018 – Recent low humidity, dry conditions and warm fast-moving winds have created ideal conditions for blazes to spread across California. Tens of thousands of acres are burning and images are emerging of horses being evacuated, roaming free or fleeing approaching fires. The situation is devastating.

Stories of courageous rescue volunteers and make-shift shelters are unfolding throughout ravaged California communities – all focused on helping abandoned and displaced equines. The rescue efforts are complicated. Often, animals caught in fires flee or hide, especially when injured.

 

DONATE NOW

California’s equines need your help now, and they will need your help in the weeks to come as they are reunited with owners or relocated to new homes. Feed, medical supplies and veterinary care are necessary to help manage this critical situation.

“Every time there’s an emergency affecting horses, the equestrian community rallies together,” said Emily Dulin, executive director of Brooke USA. “It’s complicated and challenging, but I am always impressed with how this community jumps in and helps. These generous people move heaven and earth to make sure horses are safe.”

Brooke USA is committed to helping. You can make a difference! Donate to our California Equine Emergency Fund and stay tuned for more information. Funds raised will be donated to organizations directly helping relief and recovery efforts.

 

ABOUT BROOKE USA
Brooke USA’s mission is to significantly improve the welfare of horses, donkeys and mules and the people they serve throughout Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America by raising funds and responsibly directing them to the areas of greatest need. Through the programs funded, Brooke USA helps equine owners, service providers and governments in the developing world to implement scientifically proven, practical, sustainable and culturally relevant solutions to enormous animal welfare challenges.

Brooke USA raises funds to support a wide variety of programs for working horses, donkeys and mules to help them become (and remain) healthy and happy, now and in the long-term. The programs also benefit families who depend on working equines to help them earn a living. Most of the programs funded by Brooke USA are directed by Brooke, the world’s largest international equine charity: the leading experts on working equines around the globe. Through a world-wide staff of approximately 1,000 (primarily nationals), Brooke currently operates in 11 countries across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, and Brooke USA supports many of those programs in addition to others.

To learn more about Brooke USA, please go to www.BrookeUSA.org or contact or 859-296-0037.

From: Carrie Wirth

EQ Media

(612) 209-0310

carrie@EQmedia.agency

Is Your Horse Bothered By Bots?

 (Photo Credit: Horse and Hound)

By Nikki Alvin-Smith

 

If your horse is bothered by bots you will most likely see small yellow, white or grey specks on your horse’s coat. These are eggs and may appear on your horse’s front legs, neck (mane and withers) or under his jaw. The eggs are laid on your horse’s coat by female flies that look a bit like honeybees, and the eggs will hatch into larvae when contacted by the saliva from a horse’s lips.

 

Other signs that your horse is infected with bots are excessive salivation, chewing issues and irritation of the mouth. A high population of bot larvae may even cause pus in the oral cavity. Not pleasant!

 

While horses can easily reach the deposited eggs on their front legs and consequently lick and ingest the eggs, given that most horses are not able to reach their own manes and wither area, grooming by another horse will enable transmission of eggs deposited at these locations to their respective lips and mouth.

 

As the eggs hatch into larvae they will burrow into the horse’s tongue, around teeth in gingival pockets and after 21 to 28 days will then molt and be swallowed by the horse and migrate to the stomach. Here they continue to develop while attached to the mucosal lining of the stomach and just past the stomach in the alimentary canal.

 

Amazingly aside from the mouth irritation the horse does not appear to experience discomfort or other issues from the ulceration that the larvae produce in the alimentary canal or stomach. A large population of bots hosted by the horse may cause many small ulcers that have the potential to become one large ulcer which could produce a colic risk, but this is unusual.

 

The larvae spend the winter inside the horse, to be excreted back onto the pasture during the warmer Spring months. Presence of bot larvae in horse fecal egg count test is seldom seen but certainly provides proof of bot infection. It is a good idea to deworm your horse once a year to mitigate bot populations. The ideal time to deworm the horse to break the life cycle of bot species is late Autumn, early Winter. A dose of Ivermectin or moxidectin should do the trick.

 

Meantime removal of the eggs visible on the horse’s coat will help defray the discomfort of these larvae stage bots reaching your horse’s mouth. There are many different methods for such removal. You can utilize a bot comb or bot knife, or carefully use a disposable razor. Lava stone grooming blocks act as a type of sandpaper and may successfully remove the eggs and the traditional method of wiping the eggs off with vinegar may work. Use gloves if you decide to pick them off by hand, you don’t want eggs underneath your fingernails! Bot eggs can be difficult to remove, so be patient.

 

If you apply mineral or baby oil to the horse’s coat after removing the visible eggs, more egg laying antics may be reduced.

 

 

 

This article is brought to you courtesy of Horsemen’s Laboratory Inc., Mahomet, IL. –

 

About Horsemen’s Laboratory: Established in 1993 by John Byrd D.V.M., an experienced lifelong horseman and a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. As an equine medicine practitioner in California for 13 years, Dr. Byrd served as ex-officio member of the board of directors of the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association where he also served as the organization’s official sales veterinarian.  In addition, Dr. Byrd frequently officiated, as veterinarian for horse shows sponsored by the management of Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, California.  Dr. Byrd’s extensive experience with horses led him to observe how a horse’s health could impact performance leading to the founding of the specialist lab for equine fecal worm egg counts. Please visit https://www.horsemenslab.com/ for more information. Dr. Byrd enjoys sharing his wealth of knowledge of equine parasitology with horse owners from all walks of life, and is available to provide lectures/symposiums for your club, organization or event. Please contact Dr. Byrd via his website for rates and further information.

 

About Nikki Alvin-Smith: International and national published freelance writer and photographer in such world renowned publications such as The Chronicle of the Horse, Horse and Hound, Dressage and CT, Warmbloods Today, The Horseman’s Yankee Pedlar, Reiter, The Equine Journal, Spur, Hoofprints, Horsin’ Around, Horses All, Field & Stream, Western Horse and Gun, Pony Quarterly, Horses All Canada, Catskill Horse to name a few. Ghostwriting, blog services, PR/Marketing copy either direct with manufacturer or for agencies, copy editing and editor services also available. Nikki also produces catalog copy, white papers, e-books, corporate brochures and advertising copy for international corporations and PR/Marketing for celebrities.

 

As a Brit who has called the America home for the past 34 years, Nikki brings a unique perspective to the equestrian world. Nikki is also an accomplished Grand Prix dressage trainer/competitor, competing at international Grand Prix level to scores over 72% and is a highly sought clinician offering clinics worldwide. She has been a horse breeder/importer of warmblood and Baroque breeds for more than 25 years. Together with her husband Paul who is also a Grand Prix trainer, they run a private dressage breeding operation and training yard in the beautiful Catskill Mountains of New York. Please visit http://www.NikkiAlvinSmithStudio.com to learn more.

 

Feeding Weanlings for Growth, Health and Soundness


The two life stages that have the most intensive nutritional needs are mares in early lactation and weanlings. Their requirements per pound of body weight are the highest.

Nutrient dense diets are those that have high levels of protein/amino acids and minerals per calorie. As you might expect, mineral requirements are extremely high during periods of rapid growth. At 4 months, the horse has higher daily total mineral needs than they do as a yearling, despite having lower daily calorie needs. If you really think about this, it is immediately clear that trying to feed weanlings the same diet being fed adults is going to be severely inadequate.

Calories:  Calories are actually the easiest part of feeding weanlings.  In fact, most are too heavy and this has been linked to developmental orthopedic disease.  A 6 month-old weanling requires 7% fewer calories than he will at maintenance at his full adult weight.  If feeding him 93% of the adult diet, he will also only get 93% of the adult protein and minerals, much too low.

Minerals: The foal’s body can’t create the minerals it needs for growth, and stores at birth are minimal to none. This is where the needs of the weanling and those of the adult show the greatest difference.  For example, the 6-month-old weanling needs almost twice as much calcium and phosphorus as he will when he’s a full grown adult.  Obviously 93% of the adult diet won’t get the job done.  The weanling may be falling short by as much as 20 grams of calcium.  This has been linked to developmental orthopedic disease and may set the stage for joint disease and breakdowns when started in training.

Protein: While calorie requirements were lower than adults, protein needs are 7% higher and lysine 10% higher.  If you are feeding the adult diet at the 7% reduction, the gap gets wider.  For a horse that will mature to 50o kg, this amounts to a deficit of 90 grams of protein overall and 4 grams of lysine *if* the adult diet was adequate for lysine in the first place (many are not).

The Solution:  What to do about this? You can scrap the idea of feeding your regular adult diet entirely and go with a specialty mare and foal feed according to directions.  If you do that though, the diet can be 50 to 60% grain based, with much of your protein and minerals tied to grain calories.

It is well known that overfeeding in general is linked to early orthopedic problems across the board and high grain feeding rates put some horses at higher risk for osteochondrosis.  It also used to be believed that weanlings had to have a high percentage of grain in their diet because they couldn’t handle a high fiber diet as well as an adult.  Recent research has proven that false.

Going back then to the adult diet with modest levels of grain/concentrates and heavily based on forages, how can it be fortified for the weanling?  Assuming the adult diet meets minimum protein and mineral requirements, look for a supplement with about 25% protein, lysine minimum 1.5% and 5% calcium with a balanced mineral profile.  Feed 1 pound per day of this.

Some diets have adequate trace minerals for the weanling, but come up short in the critical nutrients for building bone. If that is your situation, a broad-spectrum bone support supplement with calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamins A and D will fill the gap. Consult your veterinarian or nutritionist regarding dosing.

If you are already feeding enough supplemental minerals across the board and don’t need to add more, it’s very useful to have an unfortified high protein source.  Look for 40+% protein, at least 2% lysine and a mixture of milk/whey protein with vegetable sources.  Feed 1/2 lb per day.  If total protein is adequate, but all or most from hay with unknown lysine content, supplement with an amino acid supplement containing 10 grams lysine and 2 grams threonine per dose.

Finally, for fall and over the winter with no pasture available, you need to think about essential fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are fragile and largely destroyed when hay cures and during storage.  Adequate supply is required by the eyes, heart and may even influence disposition.  Flax and Chia are good sources, 4 to 6 ounces/day.

Tweaking your diet to fill weanling needs is not terribly difficult or expensive, but the pay back in terms of growth, health and soundness can be enormous.

Uckele Health & Nutrition, maker of CocoSoya®, offers Probiotic formulas that support the weanlings growth, health and soundness. 

 

Milk & Grow is formulated meet the increased protein, vitamin and mineral demands of the pregnant and lactating mare and growing foal. Highly digestible protein supplement with favorable profiles for all the essential amino acids including the most often deficient amino acid, L-Lysine. Combined with a complete spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and Probiotics

Amino-Fac-41 supports the increased protein needs of growing horses to promote muscle integrity and definition.  Concentrated source of all the amino acids, including 4% Lysine. Supports lean muscle mass, bone and joint structure, vital organ development, immune system function, and hoof and connective tissue health.

Tri Amino helps maintain strong muscles, healthy weight, and supports a healthy topline with the three most essential amino acids. Lysine aids in bone health and immune function. Methionine plays a role in the synthesis of structural proteins, especially hooves and connective tissues. Threonine aids in healthy immune function.

Super Bones is for use when additional Calcium, Phosphorus, and Magnesium are imbalanced to support strong bones and structural integrity.  Also contains Vitamin A and D3 and for additional support in a palatable base.  Perfect for supplementing pregnant and lactating mares and developing foals that have significantly increased requirements.

CocoOmega is a non-GMO and soy free formula that supplies fatty acids in the ideal ratio that mimics the ratio of 4 to 1 Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids found in fresh forages. Promotes a glossy, healthy coat, and supports skin, hooves and joint function by retaining moisture in the cells and tissues to maintain healthy hydration.  Highly concentrated levels of Omega-3 fatty acids enriched with antioxidants also provides EPA and DHA to support brain and nervous system function. Contains Flax Seeds, Chia Seeds and Fish Oil. Very palatable, 100% cold pressed, unrefined oil.  Also available in a granular.

 

Permission to reprint this article is granted, provided credit is given to Uckele Health & Nutrition, who appreciates being notified of publication.

 

About Dr. Kellon
Dr. Eleanor Kellon, staff veterinary specialist for Uckele Health & Nutrition, is an established authority in the field of equine nutrition for over 30 years, and a founding member and leader of the Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistance (ECIR) group, whose mission is to improve the welfare of horses with metabolic disorders via integration of research and real-life clinical experience.  Prevention of laminitis is the ultimate goal.  www.ecirhorse.org

Uckele Health & Nutrition, maker of CocoSoya, is an innovation-driven health company committed to making people and their animals healthier.  On the leading edge of nutritional science and technology for over 50 years, Uckele formulates and manufactures a full spectrum of quality nutritional supplements incorporating the latest nutritional advances.